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Greely has no answers for York in quarterfinals

Sports

Greely has no answers for York in quarterfinals

PORTLAND—Five minutes into its Western Class B quarterfinal, the Greely boys' basketball team was feeling pretty good, sitting on a 12-4 lead.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, there were still 27 minutes to go and the York Wildcats made the most out of them.

No 2 York seemingly flipped a switch and erupted on a 26-2 run to completely sap the will out of No. 7 Greely, which entered the contest confident of its ability to spring an upset after a strong performance in the preliminary round Tuesday.

Instead, the Rangers were reminded, for the third time this winter, why the Wildcats are viewed as one of the best teams, not just in Class B, but in the entire state.

York excelled on both ends of the floor, got easy looks and not only erased its deficit, but took a 32-18 lead into the half. The Wildcats opened the second half on a 10-2 run and never looked back, rolling to a 64-38 victory.

York placed three players in double figures, had a commanding edge on the glass and forced 20 Greely turnovers as it improved to 18-1, ended the Rangers' season at 10-10 and advanced to face No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (14-5) in the semifinals Thursday at 7:30 p.m., at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

"We got off to a great start because we shot well," said Greely first-year coach Travis Seaver. "But we never got comfortable or in our groove to do what we wanted to do. We wanted to control the game better. We allowed them to get out in transition. They had too many offensive boards. Our kids played hard, but the bottom line is York's a very good basketball team."

Too much to overcome

Greely, which was stunned by a Lincoln Academy buzzer-beater in a preliminary round upset loss last season, saw longtime coach Ken Marks bid the program adieu in the offseason. Marks was succeeded this winter by Seaver, a former program stalwart.

The Rangers won their opener, 80-73, in overtime, at Wells, then lost at home to York (71-48) and at Falmouth (63-45). After a 65-59 home triumph over Fryeburg, Greely was dealt another setback, 56-47, at Cape Elizabeth, before closing the 2012 portion of its schedule with a 75-50 home win over Poland. The Rangers then dispatched host Lake Region (56-40), visiting Yarmouth (58-44), visiting Traip (54-45) and host Freeport (64-51) to extend their win streak to five, but the run ended with losses at home to Falmouth (68-45) and at York (53-33). Greely handled visiting Gray-New Gloucester (64-45), but then lost at Fryeburg (46-37) and Yarmouth (60-53). After rebounding with a 63-37 home victory over Lake Region, the Rangers closed with losses at Gray-New Gloucester (59-48) and at home to Cape Elizabeth (54-46) to wind up 9-9 (ending its streak of eight straight winning records in the regular season) and seventh in Western B.

Tuesday, Greely began its new season with a strong performance in a 71-51 home victory over No. 10 Fryeburg in the preliminary round.

York was very impressive all season, with one exception, a 71-51 loss at Falmouth on the third day of the new year. The Wildcats avenged that setback Feb. 5 by beating the visiting Yachtsmen even more decisively, 65-39. York's 17-1 record left it second to Falmouth in the standings and gave it a bye into the quarterfinals.

York won both regular season meetings with Greely with relative ease. The Rangers fell at home to the Wildcats, 71-48, back on Dec. 10, and lost, 53-33, at York, Jan. 18.

Dating back to 1981, the teams had met six prior times in the postseason, with each winning three. York took the most recent meeting, 58-49, in the 2006 quarterfinals.

Saturday, Greely turned heads for a few minutes, but the Wildcats awed the crowd the rest of the way.

York scored first, on a jumper from senior Hayden Webster, but Rangers junior Mike McDevitt scored on a putback, junior Jonah Normandeau knocked down a 3, McDevitt hit two foul shots and junior Bailey Train made a short jumper for a 9-2 advantage.

Webster answered with a jumper, but Normandeau knocked down another 3 and dreams of an upset were flashing through the Rangers' heads.

The Wildcats re-established control when Webster scored on a putback. Senior Aaron Todd scored on a putback, added a leaner off the glass and after Webster tied the game with a putback, junior Michael Gallagher beat the buzzer with a long 3-pointer (punctuating the shot with a highlight-reel chest bump with coach Randy Small) to give York a 15-12 lead.

The Wildcats, who had yet to turn the ball over, closed the first on an 11-0 run.

The second period would be even better for York.

Gallagher opened the stanza with a long jumper, Todd added a layup, Webster scored on a putback and senior Zach Leal hit two foul shots for a 23-12 lead.

Greely finally snapped the 19-0 Wildcats' surge and its 6 minute, 21 second scoring drought when McDevitt scored on a leaner, but senior Luke Claflin scored on a bank shot, Claflin fed Leal for a layup and senior Aaron Bailey knocked down a 3 for a 30-14 lead.

Making matters worse for the Rangers, on the 3, McDevitt went down with an injury and missed the rest of the half.

Greely junior Kyle Wood hit consecutive layups, but Todd (from Webster, who had 10 points and nine boards in the first half alone) made a layup to give York a 32-18 advantage at the break.

Any comeback hopes the Rangers might have entertained were immediately dashed at the start of the third quarter as Webster made a layup, Webster hit a baseline jumper and Todd knocked down a jumper for a 37-18 lead.

The basket gave Todd 1,000 points for his career.

After McDevitt (who returned for the start of the second half) made a left-handed leaner, Gallagher knocked down another 3. McDevitt scored on a runner, but once again, Gallagher buried a 3 to make it 43-22.

McDevitt converted an old-fashioned three-point play (leaner, foul, free throw), but Gallagher once again trumped him with a 3-ball and Leal hit a free throw and Claflin made a bank shot for a 49-25 lead with eight minutes to go.

A driving layup from junior Ross Hogan opened the fourth quarter. McDevitt made a jump shot, but Claflin made a layup and Hogan hit a jumper for a 55-27 advantage. After Greely junior Conner Hanley made a layup, Bailey knocked down a 3. Rangers senior Jimmy Scanlon and York sophomore Mark MacGlashing traded layups, Greely senior Nick Maynard hit a 3, York junior Adam Legg answered with a layup, Scanlon hit two foul shots and Maynard made a layup for his team's last points of the season before Legg brought the curtain down on the 64-38 decision with a leaner in the final minute.

"We really through we could carry over what we did (Tuesday)," Seaver said. "The pride of playing together was there. We just never got comfortable. That's some on us and a lot on York. We were successful the past couple weeks playing a zone. We couldn't play a zone in the second half because they could just sit on the ball. We tried to come up with a defensive scheme we were comfortable with. We wanted to play a little more man, but they have speed, length and they play hard. Todd's very tough inside. Leal's a great slasher and Gallagher shot well tonight. That made the game easy for them and difficult for anybody they play."

York had three players in double figures. Gallagher led the way with 14 points, which included four of his team's six 3-pointers. Webster added 13 points (and 12 rebounds) and Todd 10 points (with six boards and three blocks). Bailey and Claflin each added six points, Leal had five, Hogan and Legg four each and MacGlashing two.

The Wildcats won the rebounding battle, 29-19, had 10 steals, only turned the ball over 12 times while forcing 20 Rangers' miscues and hit 4-of-9 free throws.

McDevitt did all he could to keep Greely in the game, scoring 15 points.

"(Mike) played well," Seaver said. "It's a great matchup with him going against Todd."

Normandeau added six points, Maynard had five, Scanlon and Wood four each and Hanley and Train two apiece. Hanley was the top rebounder with five.

The Rangers went 5-of-7 from the charity stripe.

Greely will now turn its attention to the 2013-14 season.

“It was up and down a little bit this year, but we got better every single day," said Seaver. "That's a testament to our kids. We got (to the Expo). You'd always like another win. We have a lot back and I'm excited to see what we can do.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Greely senior Nick Dunnett flashes some impressive skills to fool a York defender.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Greely junior Conner Hanley leans in for a shot.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Greely junior Jonah Normandeau throws up a shot with his left hand.